MDA acknowledges that unemployment is below national average in Meghalaya

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Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) led by National People’s Party (NPP) headed by Conrad Kongkal Sangma, while presenting the year report in office, pointed out that unemployment rate in the state is below the national average. Chief Minister stated that Job creation will be one of the main priorities for his government, he is also hopeful that all the actions taken in the last one year will continue and they will be able to create more jobs for the youth.

According to Conrad, entrepreneurship was the way forward to tackle unemployment and the government had launched several projects. In the case of Meghalaya, every project is aimed at economic development, which will lead to job creation. He assured that in the coming years, the country and Meghalaya will see a huge inflow of youth to the job market.

Mr Chief Minister Sir, the job creation avenue in the national scenario is in total contrast with the state of Meghalaya. In view of the absence of Corporation, manufacturing and production industries in the state, job avenue is limited to white collar job, which has reached its saturation point. Hence, in spite of Reversion and Quota, now the competition is within the indigenous tribal, leading to favouritism and malpractices. The mushrooming of impostors acting as recruitment agent for government job, cheating the tribal themselves is evident enough of the frustration of unemployed youth, who are only focusing on government job.

Conrad is attempting to change the work cultural of Secretarial Staff. Since he took over as the Head of the government on March 6, 2018, he, himself reaches the office at 10 am sharp in the morning. He makes sure he maintains punctuality, and also expects his office staff to maintain discipline. Is this the first step of ‘Change’ he assured.

Conrad, popularly known as Junior Sangma, was brought up in Delhi and was educated at the St. Columba’s School there. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, before completing his MBA in finance from Imperial College London.

Armed with such Degree, he fully understands the work culture and working hours. He had in the past attempted to change the work culture in Meghalaya, when, at the age of 30, he became the youngest Finance Minister of Meghalaya in the 8th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. He amended the list of holidays for government offices only to Second and Fourth Saturday, instead of all Saturdays, in the year 2008. This was strongly opposed by the government employees, and a silent Non-cooperation was moved against him. The order on curtailing holidays was immediately revoked the moment his government was toppled. Above that he lost his Selsella Assembly Constituency seat in the 2013 election, when he sought re-election to the 9th Assembly Session. He became the most disliked legislator of the Meghalaya Assembly for reducing the off days of the employees.

He was elected as the Tura Parliamentary Constituency in the By-election after the demise of his father Purno Agitok Sangma, and this time too he was elected in the Bye-election after six months in office as Chief Minister; his sister – Agatha Kongkal Sangma relinquish the Tura Assembly seat for him.

Knowing well that the work culture in the state government is impossible to change, the Chief Minister is banking on entrepreneurship. However, with the present state Industrial Policy and the District Councils in the state, it is impossible to attract the investors, not because of frequent breakdown of Law and Order or the militancy activities, which have been streamlined as of now, but because the 47-year old Meghalaya’s rigid Land Protection Act in place because of which the government doesn’t have land to offer to industries and corporations. Further, being guarded by the Trading Licence, all forms of business or work for the Non-tribals have restricted the expansion of work or setting up of new venture, meaning curbing the employment avenue in the state- leading to the total failure of entrepreneurship in the state. As the educated indigenous tribal refuses to venture out in this field, preferring to remain unemployed while waiting for the opening in government departments, which has created an artificial unemployment.

If Conrad is serious about promoting entrepreneurship, his government should Amend the Industrial Policy, and relaxing the Trading Licences for new ventures and corporation, which the local do not want to venture into, which can lead to job creation for the local youths. Unless, such hurdles are removed, it is impossible to talk about job avenues in Meghalaya.